Climate change is a threat…decarbonisation is an opportunity


Slight digression here from patent attorneys and their businesses…there’s a lot going on there and I’ll get back to them later – I am sure they are looking forward to it.   I am now turning my mind to companies that use patents and innovative technologies as part of their business models.  I suspect I’ll sound like a bit of a pompous twit – but which blogger doesn’t!

Now, in Australia (and no doubt in a lot of other countries), the politics of climate change are always couched as a threat.  On one side, you have the position that unless we begin rapidly reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we will have rapidly increasing global temperatures with catastrophic consequences.  There is no doubt this is true.

On the other side, you have a resistance to change.  The cost to decarbonise is expensive.  The effects of climate change are not as drastic as they appear.  Decarbonisation will complicate electricity production and result in less reliable power.  Jobs will be lost.

All of these positions are couched in terms of threats.  In the case of global warming, an existential threat.  These positions are scary and fear is not the best motivator for change.

But reducing carbon as an energy source is not a threat – unless you sell coal or own old power stations.  All the sources of energy that use less or no carbon (with the possible exception of nuclear energy) are cleaner and ultimately much cheaper than conventional sources.  Sources like solar, wind and tide have no fuel costs.

I invest in a company that develops systems that uses hydrogen to store energy (like a battery).  Hydrogen is a cool fuel – you make it by splitting water using electricity (using renewable energy) and when you “burn” it to produce electricity, it’s only exhaust is water.  It can be used as a fuel in vehicles and in households and it can be used to store and generate electricity.  What’s not to like!

Provided you can store it effectively, the price of power will inevitably come down if renewable energy sources dominate.  This opens up a lot of business opportunities in areas where power is a limiting factor – which is practically everything – including all manufacturing and importantly recycling, dealing with waste is obviously another enormous issue.

That is to say, the consequences of decarbonisation are not detrimental – even transitioning to renewable sources of energy is an investment in infrastructure.  There is no long term down side and a number of upsides.

Decarbonisation will require and generate new innovations and technologies.  Not to mention saving the planet as we know it and making it a better place to live in.

Climate change is enormously scary – the results of addressing climate change are enormously exciting.



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